Recreating the Archive

In 1620, Manuel Gayt√°n de Torres left Jerez de la Frontera to survey Venezuelan copper mines. Copper was central to imperial Spain's currency policies, military campaigns against the Dutch, and trade relationships in West Africa, but it was in short supply. Gayt√°n de Torres projected his vision of a community of African, indigenous, and Iberian miners in a report, painting (now lost), and navigational chart (also lost). After digging in Archivo General de Indias (Sevilla),Allison Bigelow, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, and Faculty Coordinator, Maya K'iche' (Duke-Vanderbilt-UVa Consortium) and her student, Rebecca Graham, will recreate the painting from the prose descriptions, suggesting how new approaches to imperial archives and undergraduate research can shed light on the history of race and extractive industries in the Americas.